The Akita Inu
The Akita is a Japanese breed that was historically first bred and used for fighting and bear hunting purposes. Therefore, members of this breed still have outstanding hunting instincts. In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but Akitas was preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. During the World War II (1939-1945) was not unusual to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. Akitas (among other dogs) were being killed for its fur so people started releasing their Akitas into the woods in order to save their lives. Eventually the dogs were found by American soldiers who took them across the border, back to America, and this is how this breed started to spread on other continents.
The Akita is bold, independent, stubborn, tenacious, large and powerful breed. These dogs are usually very temperamental and demand constant training. The females are much more calm and easier to work with. They are not so dominant. When raising Akita, it is important to know that if they are not socialized properly from the earliest days they might show aggression towards other dogs and other animals later. Male Akitas are very dominant so keep in mind that Akita is not the right dog for the beginners.
Although known for their loyalty, Akitas must be trained properly to achieve that loyalty. Training should start immediately. This breed requires a dominant owner and a firm hand. Akitas are not suitable for everyone, because if you don’t manage to impose your domination, you may have some serious behavior problems with your dog. If you are strict and consistent in education, you shouldn’t have any problems. They are very loyal dogs, make good protectors of their family and are distrustful to strangers. Akitas don’t make friends easily; they are reserved with unknown people and are very protective of their owner. They should be introduced carefully to new dogs and household pets. If trained so from the beginnings Akitas will probably go along well with other animals and children, but as a general safety precaution, this breed should always be supervised around children and other pets. Akitas are fast learners but can be very stubborn, so they should be owned by patient owner, willing to work with his dog. If learned so, Akita will take basic commands from all family members, but only one master will be listened to unconditionally. Akitas require constant mental and psychic activity. They are very durable and love long walks, but won’t make any problems sometimes long walks are skipped.
If you don’t have any experience with dogs but want to get yourself an Akita – sign the dog up for dog school and professional training. Even Akita breeders highlight that Akita dog isn’t for everyone. Also, get ready to spend some serious money. The price of Akita dog is around 4,500 dollars.
Although Akitas are known for their neatness, if you are getting an Akita, get a good vacuum cleaner at the same time. These dogs shed heavily twice a year (actually, it is more of a blowing out their undercoats since they are a double-coated breed). Their double-coated fur makes them suitable pets for cold climates. Shedding time can last from 2 to 4 weeks, and in this period you will have to clean and vacuum your house more often.
Akitas are generally healthy, but like all breeds of dogs, they are prone to certain health conditions and diseases. Akitas are prone to hip dysplasia as well as gastrointestinal disturbances and some autoimmune diseases (such as Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, which is a disorder of the blood, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome, which affects the eyes and skin of affected dogs, Pemphigus Foliaceus, which is a skin disorder that is believed to be hereditary). Their life span is 10-12 years.
There are two main types of Akita dog – American Akita (also known as the Akita) and Japanese Akita (known as the Akita Inu). These are two distinct breeds and while there are some similarities, they also have various differences. The American Akita is recognized as a breed in 2006. The American Akita is larger and heavier than Japanese Akita and comes in many colors and patterns. Akita Inus, however, come only in brindle, white and red. Akita Inus are 23 to 25 inches in height for females and weigh 70 to 110 pounds, and are 25 to 28 inches in height for males and weigh 85 to 130 pounds. American Akitas tend to be an inch taller for both males and females. Body shape is also different between these two breeds. The American Akita’s ears are erect while Akita Inu’s ears are pointed in a forward slant. The Akita Inu also has a fox-like facial composition. The Akita Inu is stubborn and independent dog that is suspicious towards strangers and other dogs. The American Akita goes along with other dogs of the opposite sex, while same sex dogs might argue sometimes. The American Akita is not so suspicious towards strangers. The purebred Japanese Akita is more expensive than American Akita.
FUN FACT: Akitas usually don’t bark a lot, only when necessary.
Popularization of the Akita
There is probably a very few people that didn't watch movie Hachiko, which actually made this breed popular across the globe. Hachiko was a true example of Akita's temperament and its loyal nature. Hachiko’s owner, professor Ueno, was going to work by train so Hachiko used to follow its master to the train station every day and was also there at the end of the day, waiting for the professor Ueno to come back from work, to accompany him home. Two years later, the professor went to work, but suffered from stroke and died while on work so he never came back to the train station where Hachiko was waiting for him. From then until its own death, Hachiko would return to Shibuya Station every day to await Ueno's return. Hachiko was a dog remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner and the dog kept on waiting for the professor for the next 10 years.
FUN FACT: Hachiko has its monument in front of Tokyo's Shibuya railway station.
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